Transitioning

Church Transitions - leading your church through change: "Dan Southerland is the founder and director of Church Transitions Inc. Dan developed this process for change while serving as the pastor/teacher of the Flamingo Road Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During the thirteen years of his ministry at Flamingo Road, the church made some major changes:

Transitioning: The central question is this: There are plenty of dreams.... What we need is a process for leading change. We teach a process for leading change that is:

Nehemiah is continually taken out of context.

Here are my notes from pages 114 to 118:

Expect ridicule. If you have read Nehemiah recently, you will remember that Sanballat is Nehemiah's greatest critic and number one enemy. .... Smabllat is a leader from hell.... ...We all have some Sanballates in our churches. This is the guy who opposes whatever your propose. They guy who hates what you like. The guy who wants to back up every time you want to move forward. you cannot call t his guy a leader from hell to his face-- but you could call him Sanballat ....

Check out good old Sanballat: He ridiculed the Jews (Nehemiah 4:1b). The world for ridicule here literally means to trouble, to rage against, to be indignant toward.  Modern forms would include mocking, making fun of, putting down, and being sarcastic.

You will get some ridicule. One form of ridicule that is popular today is name calling. A few of the names that have been thrown at us are liberal, heretic, new ager, manipulator, and false prophet (and those are just the names I get called in staff meetings). Get the picture? You better expect some ridicule.

Expect criticism. Sanballat  is still at it. The leader from hell is trying to prevail. Look at his next tirade: "What are those feeble Jews doing?...Nehemiah 4:2-3.... (end 115)

We have experienced two major sources of criticism during our transitions. The first is Christians from more traditional backgrounds. They sometimes struggle with transitions in the church. Not all of our traditional bacgounded Christians have been critical--just the ornery ones. Our second source of criticism is traditional church pastors. Again, not all traditional church pastors--just the meaner ones. I believe that is because they do not understand what we are doing. I hope it is not our of jealousy of our results....

Expect a fight. If you think your opposition will go away without a fight, think again. ... Notice what Nehemiah's opposition group is up to: "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work." Nehemiah 4:11

Our OK Corral-style shoot-out came during a deacon's meeting. One deacon decided it was time to confront me in front of twenty other deacons.....So in a two minute explosion, he said that I had quit preaching the gospel, that I did not care that people were leaving the church, and that the new music we were doing was awful. He concluded... with a statement: "We need to go back to the way we used to do church!" ...

I said, "This is where I have to go. I must do church for the unchurched; I can't go back to doing church for the already convinced....


According to many change agent pastors today, the way to avoid such opposition is to reach out to the unchurched who don't know the Bible or God's guidelines, therefore have no basis for criticizing the switch from Biblical order to secular management systems.

 

 

You will be criticized regardless of what you do--so you might as well be criticized for doing what God wants you to do. (end 116) ...

"... go to school in order to collect the necessary information to prepare for vision. First, go to school on the unchurched people in your community...." (Page 28) ... Do not make the mistake of thinking you know the unchurched people in your community. Chances are you might be surprised at what you find if you take the time to ..." 3. on Page 31: "... kite about our growth to being broken and desperate. We made a commitment to learn to do church for the unchurched -and we have been learning ever since. I am convinced that a major reason we do not discover God's vision ..." 4. on Page 40: "... nine years would include: " approach - from program driven to purpose driven " target - from Christians to the unchurched " worship - from traditional to extremely contemporary " leadership - from committee/deacon led to staff led " pastors - ..." 5. on Page 41: "... Church they go too fast." in Seattle for many years. He also wrote L "wwwm BabyBoomerang-an excellent book on reaching unchurched young adults. Doug once told me, "The reason 99 out of 100 churches that try to make major transitions fail ..." 6. on Page 53: "... is a Pentecostal church that reaches mostly those with charismatic leanings. The Catholic church reaches traditional Catholics. Our church reaches unchurched young adults (many of whom are in fact former Catholics). Each of these churches reaches a different group of people ..." 7. on Page 54: "... targeting the 10 percent of the population that is already in church. But if our goal is to reach the unchurched, then other churches are our teammates. Many church leaders today struggle with being territorial. I believe the reason for that ..." 8. on Page 55: "... give up your tendency to be territorial. One local church pastor in Arguing over who is going to reach the unchurched is like two ants arguing over who is going to eat the elephant. our area told one of our mission ..." 9. on Page 56: "... that on any given weekend, only about 37 percent of Americans are in church. That means there are plenty of unchurched people to go around. There is no room for being territorial in the kingdom of God. The balance in targeting ..." 10. on Page 60: "... 60 Defining the Vision The lost who are unchurched. These are people who do not know Christ and do not attend any church. The Christians who are unchurched. These ..." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- what Nehemiah learned aobut he conditions in Jereusalem changed N heart forever.... "When I heard these things, I sast toswn and wept." Neh 1:4a Nehemiah was heartbroken. the Wall s had been down for years, but all of a sudden he epxeerces a holy discontent with the afact. ... Don't miss this major proinsciple of transitionn: vision is usually brithed out of heatache and burden.../As long as we are content with the status quo, we will not discover God's vision. (end